Southeastern PA

One Tank Trip: Get the Picture! exhibit

CHADDS FORD, Pa. - You can find art just about everywhere. Art in some places may be overlooked, seen but not really studied.

In a book, you can turn the page, but when you take what's on the page and put it up on a wall, it gets your attention.

"Those pictures in a book that children read have to come from somewhere, and I think this makes the connection for them. They were the product of an artist," explained Christine Podmaniczky, staff curator of the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Delaware County.

The "Get the Picture!" exhibit is about the art from picture books. It's the work of eight illustrators, 20 works by each artist, all drawn from their most-recent titles.

Some characters you may already know and love, like the familiar Mo Willems' "Elephant and Piggie."

"The way a character is drawn so simply, but so simply that if you altered a line, it wouldn't be the same. It just wouldn't be the same," Podmaniczky said.

Whether it's sketch or watercolor, you get to see how the artist works.

There are a few illustrations from Sophie Blackall's "The Mighty Lalouche."

"This artwork is done as a collage," Podmaniczky said. "You can see that she's built out the figures, but they photographed it so that the figures created quite dramatic shadows, so they photographed it that way."


The exhibit tells a story about how far we've come in children's literature. Yes, even picture books, becoming inclusive, sharing the stories of struggle and success.

"Booker T. Washington, as a young boy, walked a great distance. I think it was some 500 miles to go to a school, and Bryan Collier has alluded to that journey by making a shirt for the young Booker T. Washington out of collaging it out of maps, reproductions of maps," Pomaniczky explained.

It's a detail we might have missed, and if one of the illustrations piques your interest, you can pick out a comfy chair and read the story for yourself. A reading nook is outfitted with all the books highlighted in the exhibit. You might pay closer attention to the pictures instead of just the words.

"One of the things that's interesting about all of these artists is that were artists from a very young age," Podmaniczky said.

Most were encouraged in some way to continue their passion.

The exhibit will be open through October 9.

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